Anti-static field treatments

During a recent VEX In the Zone competition, several members of one team were applying heavy amounts of lotion to their hands, and then wiping it in the scoring zones of the field. It was very obvious that they were not just using lotion and inadvertently getting it on the field. They were squeezing alot of lotion into their hands, going directly to the field and then applying the lotion to the field, making lasting “palm prints” in the scoring zones. After multiple applications, the greasy palm prints were permanent fixtures throughout the competition.

Our team brought it to the attention of the head referee. He asked the team’s coach what they were doing. The team did not deny doing it. The coach claimed it was “anti-static” treatment for the field. The referee advised them to stop doing this, and I think he may have advised them that a penalty would be in order if they continued. It appears he did not notify any other team officials or judges about it during the competition.

Our team would like to request an official ruling on the use of lotion on the field as an “anti-static” mechanism.

From what I have been able to find, this is not permitted.

VEX allows only certain brand and type of “anti-static” spray, to be applied, only by competition officials to the entire field, or directly to a robot.

The chemical composition of those sprays is intended to leave no discernible residue, and is clearly very different than hand lotion.

We believe that the existing safety rules prohibit modifying or leaving any residue on tiles, or altering tiles in a way that effects function. It is my personal opinion that the lotion was applied to make the cones 'slide" into the score zones when pushed, rather than topple over, and to reduce the effort needed to push, rather than lift a cone over the score zone obstacle.

It is unclear what the team thought the application of lotion accomplished, or whether it caused any alteration in outcome. Nonetheless, for our own information, and for future reference, we would like to know whether applying hand lotion to the field is permitted.

You probably want to put this in the Official Q&A.

Regardless, my take on this would be that it violates <S1>:

Especially after the residue became virtually permanent, the affected field elements could reasonably be considered damaged, as they would no longer resemble the field elements sold by VEX.

I would warn them once and consequently DQ them without warning if they continued.

Thanks, S1 was the rule I also thought applied. I would like to see if there are any rules related to anti-static substance use. I placed it in the Official Q&A but it is in “draft” status and I can’t figure out how to take it out of draft status.

Nope, just remove them from the event! They are not the Event Partner, only the EP has the right to apply any substance to the fields.

If it’s in draft status in the Official Q&A, consider it gone. You’ll have to start a new post from scratch.

make them buy you a new field, you can sue

You damage my field, you aren’t playing in my tournament. I’m somewhat less concerned about the rules than I am in keeping my field usable for the other 50 teams at the event.

the first rule that comes to my mind is <G1>. I would give a DQ for the match as the warning and a DQ for the competition if they did it again.